Logicdrop Spotlight: Introduction to Microsites
Conent Management Systems and Microsites
This is the day and age of micro… anything. Micro pigs, micro brews, and for the tech industry and digital agencies, microsites. These sites have their own URL but are part of a larger ecosystem of websites. They can be tailored towards customer reward programs, media sites that need to post trending content everyday, and brand campaign sites that must remain static and adaptable. The beauty of microsites is the fast turnaround in deployment: marketing agencies are able to quickly go in and implement new customizable features and deploy within minutes. Lets dive in and take a look at how marketers today are implementing these sites, and some of the challenges they face.
Picking a platform
There are a variety of ways to develop and deploy a microsite. Some tech-savvy agencies carefully craft their own pages and host them on servers. This gives the most control, but is very time consuming and managing these deployments can become burdensome. Others outsource this task to technology partners, but that can quickly eat into the project budget and increases the time required to make changes to a site’s content. Finally, some marketers turn to Content Management Systems and other platforms, but these are often overkill for a small site.
Building and managing content by hand is error prone
Building from scratch leads to the most control, but is the most expensive option. To curb costs, one route many teams take when starting a new project is to replicate a past project as a starting point. This can introduce errors and bloated code, wasting time and money.
When it’s time to update content, communicating changes from the design team to the development team often leads to miscommunication and lengthens the turn-around time for the client.
CMS’s can help with content editing, but are unwieldy and excessive
Teams may be tempted to use a CMS like WordPress to host a microsite (which in our opinion is more of a blogging platform, not a true CMS). However, when it comes time to customizations and deployments many of these CMS’s are excessive for the needs of a microsite. Marketers find themselves wasting valuable time in customization and settings instead of building content.
It can be quite time-consuming and intimidating to figure out the mechanics and capabilities of a particular CMS, let alone evaluate other options. Time is a resource that no company has enough of so why waste it on a CMS that isn’t empowering the user?
Template-driven platforms make it hard to stand out
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some platforms make it very easy to create pages from pre-defined templates but make it tricky to make customizations beyond some basic settings. When marketers are confined to just a set of templates you tend to lose individuality amongst your clients. You can see it now, many auto dealership websites are eerily similar and yet they are claim they set themselves “apart” from the competition. Why pay for a platform that just imitates the same look as your competition when you could be setting that bar for them?
Using a data-driven strategy
One of the best strategies teams can employ to reduce turn-around time and improve engagement is using a data-driven approach to managing content. This allows the content of a microsite to be changed quickly from a central location directly by designers and copywriters, eliminating the need to go to a development team. For even more engaging sites, that content can be pulled in dynamically to keep sites fresh and up-to-date. An example of that could be a curated list of instagram posts using a campaign’s hashtag.
Most CMS’s are not what we call “data-driven”. They aren’t dynamic enough to achieve examples like the above, nor to adjust to changes in user context and referrals. For example, did the user enter from Facebook or Twitter? Are they using an iPhone?It may make sense to customize the microsite content for these different contexts to fine-tune a campaign’s message.
The right platform can enable designers to create this sort of dynamic content directly, no need for a team of developers to come in and rake up your budget when the power can be held in the designer’s hand.
Optimization and fine tuning
The last strategy marketers can use to increase page engagement and performance is optimization. Being able to create pages that are snappy and quick to load is crucial in keeping a visitor’s attention, and the right platform can help you automate that. Many page builders out there create very bloated pages, leading to very costly increases in load time.
Another import optimization technique is to create responsive pages, that is, pages which can display properly both on screens as big as a laptop and as small as a mobile phone. Designers should be confident that the pages they build will look great on any device they are viewed on, and should make sure to select a platform that allows this.
Hopefully, this post has provided some important considerations to take in developing and deploying microsites. Marketers need a platform that will empower teams without destroying their creativity and efficiency. Logicdrop is the one-stop solution to providing clients with an effective, creative, and data oriented CMS for creating these sites.